Game Development Reference
they do, in which phase of development they come on board, and whether they support
If you allow yourself to learn from working with a publisher, it can be very insightful
to get an impression of the details that need to be specified to get everything in order
from a financial and legal point of view. If the publisher has a good track record with
other developers, you can feel assured that they're not going to screw you over. But
you definitely need to understand the terms you're signing, because if you're used to
posting your sales numbers, for example, those may now be covered by a nondisclos-
ure agreement you signed with the publisher.
You do give up a certain amount of freedom, and you need to be able to live with it and
trust the publisher to do the best job they can for those parts you're giving up. For ex-
ample, if a publisher is asking you for a change in direction for certain aspects of your
game, you should seriously consider it. At least most of them know what they're talk-
ing about, and they also know what's working and what isn't (this certainly isn't the
case for all of them, though). However, because games is a very subjective field, pub-
lishers do have the tendency to favor proven sets of features over other risky but innov-
ative ones—but less so on iOS, where publishers are more willing and able to give
their developers creative freedom, if not total control over the design of the game.
In return for giving up some freedoms, they'll reward you with marketing your game.
They know the channels, and they have a direct feed to the review web sites and the
press. And that's possibly another area of expertise you'll learn a lot from. The press
has a certain way they like to receive and consume the information they need to write a
review about your game. Your publisher knows all about it will request a few things
from you that you wouldn't have considered on your own, such as high-resolution art-
work or a one-line catchphrase that really gets players interested in your game.
If you get the chance to cooperate with a publisher, my advice is to go for it at least
once, no matter how much you value your creative freedom. Afterward, you'll under-
stand much better what you're giving up and what you're receiving in return, at least in
that particular case. Whatever your experience may be, the experience alone and what
you'll learn should make it worthwhile (and maybe it will be rewarding enough to do it
again—but if not, you'll know why).
There are several game publishers you may want to consider contacting. Your best shot
would be those who market specifically for iOS or mobile devices, and in that area two
names stand out from the crowd. One is ngmoco, which published Goldfinger, We